Skating along a cleared path on a cold day in Ontario.
Skating along a cleared path on a cold day in Ontario.
LOS ANGELES — Tiger Woods was seriously injured Tuesday when his SUV crashed into a median, rolled over and ended up on its side on a steep roadway in suburban Los Angeles known for wrecks, authorities said. The golf superstar had to be pulled out through the windshield, and his agent said he was undergoing leg surgery. Woods was alone in the SUV when it crashed into a raised median shortly before 7:15 a.m., crossed two oncoming lanes and rolled several times, authorities said at a news conference. No other cars were involved. The 45-year-old was alert and able to communicate as firefighters pried open the front windshield to get him out. The airbags deployed, and the inside of the car stayed basically intact and that “gave him a cushion to survive the crash,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. Both of his legs were seriously injured, county Fire Chief Daryl Osby said. They said there was no immediate evidence that Woods was impaired. Authorities said they checked for any odor of alcohol or other signs he was under the influence of a substance and did not find any. They did not say how fast he was driving. The crash happened on a sweeping, downhill stretch of a two-lane road through upscale Los Angeles suburbs. Sheriff’s Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, who was the first to arrive at the wreck, told reporters that he sometimes catches people topping 80 mph in the 45 mph zone and has seen fatal crashes there. “I will say that it’s very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive,” Gonzalez said. Woods was in Los Angeles over the weekend as the tournament host of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, where he presented the trophy on Sunday. He was to spend Monday and Tuesday filming with Discovery-owned GOLFTV, with whom he has an endorsement. A tweet Monday showed Woods in a cart smiling with comedian David Spade. According to Golf Digest, also owned by Discovery, the TV shoot was on-course lessons for celebrities, such as Spade and Dwyane Wade, at Rolling Hills Country Club. Woods, a 15-time major champion who shares with Sam Snead the PGA Tour record of 82 career victories, has been recovering from Dec. 23 surgery on his lower back. It was his fifth back surgery and first since his lower spine was fused in April 2017, allowing him to stage a remarkable comeback that culminated with his fifth Masters title in 2019. He has carried the sport since his record-setting Masters victory in 1997 when he was 21, winning at the most prolific rate in modern PGA Tour history. He is singularly responsible for TV ratings spiking, which has led to enormous increases in prize money during his career. Even at 45, he remains the biggest draw in the sport. The SUV he was driving Tuesday had tournament logos on the side door, indicating it was a courtesy car for players at the Genesis Invitational. Tournament director Mike Antolini did not immediately respond to a text message, though it is not unusual for players to keep courtesy cars a few days after the event. Woods feared he would never play again until the 2017 fusion surgery. He returned to win the Tour Championship to close out the 2018 season and won the Masters in April 2019 for the fifth time. He last played Dec. 20 in the PNC Championship in Orlando, Florida, an unofficial event where players are paired with parents or children. He played with his son, Charlie, who is now 12. Woods also has a 13-year-old daughter. During the Sunday telecast on CBS from the golf tournament, Woods was asked about playing the Masters on April 8-11 and said, “God, I hope so.” He said he was feeling a little stiff and had one more test to see if he was ready for more activities. He was not sure when he would play again. Athletes from Mike Tyson to Magic Johnson and others offered hopes that Woods would make a quick recovery. “I’m sick to my stomach,” Justin Thomas, the No. 3 golf player in the world, said from the Workday Championship in Bradenton, Florida. “It hurts to see one of my closest friends get in an accident. Man, I just hope he’s all right.” Crews used a crane to lift the damaged SUV out of the hillside brush. The vehicle was placed upright on the street and sheriff’s investigators inspected it and took photos. Then it was loaded onto a flatbed truck and hauled away Tuesday afternoon. This is the third time Woods has been involved in a car investigation. The most notorious was the early morning after Thanksgiving in 2009, when his SUV ran over a fire hydrant and hit a tree. That was the start of shocking revelations that he had been cheating on his wife with multiple women. Woods lost major corporate sponsorships, went to a rehabilitation clinic in Mississippi and did not return to golf for five months. In May 2017, Florida police found him asleep behind the wheel of a car parked awkwardly on the side of the road. He was arrested on a DUI charge and said later he had an unexpected reaction to prescription medicine for his back pain. Woods later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and checked into a clinic to get help with prescription medication and a sleep disorder. Woods has not won since the Zozo Championship in Japan in fall 2019, and he has reduced his playing schedule in recent years because of injuries. The surgery Tuesday would be his 10th. He has had four previous surgeries on his left knee, including a major reconstruction after he won the 2008 U.S. Open, and five surgeries on his back. ___ Ferguson reported from Jacksonville, Florida. Stefanie Dazio And Doug Ferguson, The Associated Press
ATLANTA — Fueled by Black turnout, Democrats scored stunning wins in Georgia in the presidential and U.S. Senate races. Now, Republicans are trying to make sure it doesn't happen again. GOP lawmakers in the once reliably red state are rolling out an aggressive slate of voting legislation that critics argue is tailored to curtail the power of Black voters and undo years of work by Stacey Abrams and others to increase engagement among people of colour, including Latino and Asian American communities. The proposals are similar to those pushed by Republicans in other battleground states: adding barriers to mail-in and early voting, major factors in helping Joe Biden win Georgia's 16 Electoral College votes and Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff take the two Senate seats that gave Democrats control of the chamber. But one aspect of their plans, a proposal to eliminate early voting on Sundays, seems specifically targeted at a traditional get-out-the-vote campaign used by Black churches, referred to as “souls to the polls." It's led many to suggest Republicans are trying to stop a successful effort to boost Black voter turnout in Georgia, where they make up about a third of the population and have faced a dark history of attempts to silence their voices in elections. “It's a new form of voter suppression, the Klan in three-piece suits rather than white hoods,” said the Rev. Timothy McDonald III of the First Iconium Baptist Church in Atlanta, which has participated in souls to the polls events. “They know the power of the Black vote, and their goal is to suppress that power.” In previous elections, souls to the polls campaigns were festive, with vehicles and people parading to election offices during early voting windows. Churches would sometimes playfully compete to see which could bring the most voters, said McDonald, who described the GOP legislation as “spiteful.” In Georgia and elsewhere, Republicans say proposals to tighten voting access are meant to bolster confidence in elections, though they have been some of the loudest proponents of meritless claims that the election was fraudulent. The Brennan Center for Justice, a public policy group, has counted 165 bills in 33 states this year meant to limit access to voting. In Georgia, Republicans control state government and have introduced dozens of legislative measures that would restrict voting access. GOP state Rep. Barry Fleming is chief sponsor of a wide-ranging proposal that would ban Sunday early voting, require a photo ID for absentee voting, limit the time when an absentee ballot could be requested, restrict where ballot drop boxes could be placed and curb the use of mobile voting units, among other changes. In committee hearings, Fleming has cast the legislation as “an attempt to restore the confidence of our public in our election system.” He didn’t respond to an email or phone message requesting comment. Nse Ufot, CEO of the New Georgia Project that Abrams founded in 2014, called the GOP measures a backlash “to our multiracial, multilingual progressive majority that is winning elections." Biden beat former President Donald Trump by roughly 12,000 votes, becoming the first Democrat to win a presidential contest in Georgia since 1992. Biden received nearly double the number of absentee votes as Trump in a state that became a major target of Trump’s baseless claims of fraud. Biden's win there was confirmed in three separate counts, including one by hand. "These measures, in our opinion, are not based on any objective, data-driven, evidence-based assessment of the issue but solely with the intention to undermine Black voters and other communities of concern,” said Democratic state Rep. Michael Smith, chairman of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus Policy Committee. Because Republicans control both chambers of the legislature and the governor’s office, at least some form of their proposals are likely to become law. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, also a Republican, has called for a photo ID requirement for absentee voting but has yet to back a specific proposal. His office said it was still reviewing the legislation. Republicans are trying to limit ways to vote that have been wildly popular. After states expanded access to mail-in and early voting during the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 70% of all ballots cast nationwide came before Election Day. An estimated 108 million people voted by mail, early in person or by dropping off absentee ballots. In Georgia, over 4 million voters cast early or absentee ballots. “They realize if they continue to allow individuals to vote by mail, it is going to be an uphill battle for Republicans to win at the polls and maintain their position,” Democratic state Rep. Debra Bazemore said. At the federal level, Democrats are pushing for a sweeping overhaul of how Americans vote. House Democrats are expected to vote next week on a measure that would establish federal election standards like early voting periods, same-day voter registration and other policies that Republicans have dismissed as federal overreach. And they are expected to introduce another bill to restore a key provision of the Voting Rights Act that had triggered federal scrutiny of election changes in certain states and counties with histories of discrimination. Georgia was among the states that previously had to get approval for voting changes. “If left to their own devices, Republicans will try to limit the ability of minority voters to exercise their fundamental right to vote,” said U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson, a Georgia Democrat co-sponsoring the bill on federal election standards. “It's open season on voting rights in Georgia,” he said. ___ Izaguirre reported from Lindenhurst, New York. ___ Associated Press coverage of voting rights receives support in part from Carnegie Corporation of New York. The AP is solely responsible for this content. Anthony Izaguirre And Ben Nadler, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is moving slowly but surely toward reengaging with the Palestinians after a near total absence of official contact during former President Donald Trump’s four years in office. As American officials plan steps to restore direct ties with the Palestinian leadership, Biden’s national security team is taking steps to restore relations that had been severed while Trump pursued a Mideast policy focused largely around Israel, America's closest partner in the region. On Tuesday, for the second time in two days, Biden's administration categorically embraced a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, something that Trump had been purposefully vague about while slashing aid to the Palestinians and taking steps to support Israel’s claims to land that the Palestinians want for an independent state. The State Department said Tuesday that a U.S. delegation attended a meeting of a Norwegian-run committee that serves as a clearinghouse for assistance to the Palestinians. Although little-known outside foreign policy circles, the so-called Ad Hoc Liaison Committee has been influential in the peace process since Israel and the Palestinians signed the Oslo Accords in 1993. “During the discussion, the United States reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to advancing prosperity, security, and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians and to preserve the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution in which Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state,” the State Department said in a statement. “The United States underscored the commitment to supporting economic and humanitarian assistance and the need to see progress on outstanding projects that will improve the lives of the Palestinian people, while urging all parties to avoid unilateral steps that make a two-state solution more difficult to achieve,” it said. U.S. participation in the meeting followed a Monday call between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israel’s foreign minister in which Blinken stressed that the new U.S. administration unambiguously supports a two-state solution. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is close to Trump, has eschewed the two-state solution. Biden spoke to Netanyahu last week for the first time as president after a delay that many found suspicious and suggestive of a major realignment in U.S. policy. Blinken, however, has spoken to Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi twice amid ongoing concern in Israel about Biden's intentions in the region, particularly his desire to reenter the Iran nuclear deal. In Monday's call, Blinken “emphasized the Biden administration’s belief that the two-state solution is the best way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living in peace alongside a viable and democratic Palestinian state,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. The Trump administration had presented its own version of a two-state peace plan, though it would have required significant Palestinian concessions on territory and sovereignty. The Palestinians, however, rejected it out of hand and accused the U.S. of no longer being an honest peace broker after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, moved the U.S. embassy to the city from Tel Aviv, cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority, closed the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington and rescinded a long-standing legal opinion that Israeli settlement activity is illegitimate under international law, Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
Reverend Andreas Sigrist with the Jasper Anglican Church is delivering a free webinar about hope on Feb. 25 and said there are three key concepts to think about: reality, goal and movement. The webinar follows another about death and grief, which was offered through the Jasper Employment and Education Centre. Executive director Ginette Marcoux initiated the idea for the second webinar that is scheduled to run from 5 to 6 p.m. Sigrist hopes to see a lot of participation. “Hope is a capacity we have to move forward despite resistance,” he said. “For me, there are three key concepts. Reality: I think it’s crucial to remember that hope never denies reality. (Secondly), hope never exists in a vacuum. It’s always linked to a goal.” The third concept is to think about hope in terms of movement. “It’s not something we have or don’t have,” Sigrist said. “It’s more like a muscle that has to be cultivated, to be trained.” He noted how these concepts can be tied together into a story. “One of the examples I’ll be using is a show on Netflix called Away. It’s about a mission to Mars. There’s this wonderful commander, Emma Green. She leaves her teenage daughter behind. It takes three years to get to Mars and back.” Sigrist said the movie shows the strain between mother and daughter because of the distance between them but at the same time there’s a goal to get to Mars and establish life there. ”It’s that hope that allows them to move forward despite the despair the mom and daughter are feeling about being apart,” he said. He described how that framework “exemplifies the way things are, not the way things are supposed to be. The hope is all about working toward the way things are supposed to be. We exist in between those two things: the way things are and the way things are supposed to be.” Sigrist said feeling up and down is perfectly normal “in our emotional life and our inner life.” “It’s like standing in a river and the river is flowing toward a waterfall,” he said. “You’re far away from the waterfall and it’s easier to not be swept away by the current. But the closer you get, the more strong the current becomes. The key here is to become aware of where we are and learn to listen to our emotions, to our lives and to how we respond to circumstances.” While people can feel they are getting to their goal, other times they are overwhelmed, such as with the pandemic. “That’s why we need to talk about it – the reality,” Sigrist said. “It’s not just about individual experience. It’s about the strength of community.” Folks can register for the webinar through the Jasper Employment and Education Centre or by phoning or emailing Myles Berrington, adult education co-ordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh
Le recrutement à l’international reste l’une des voies privilégiées par les entreprises et les sociétés québécoises afin de répondre à leurs besoins en manque de main-d ’œuvres professionnelles et ouvrières. L’Abitibi-Témiscamingue est l’une des régions qui souffre davantage de cette problèmqtique et son milieu d’affaires ne cesse pas de multiplier ses efforts afin de combler leurs besoins. « Depuis bientôt cinq (5) ans il nous a été impossible de combler nos besoins de main d’œuvre. Nos offres d’emploi sont publiées sur le site d’Emploi Québec et sur le site Guichet Emplois du Gouvernement du Canada. Nous constatons encore aujourd’hui que les besoins de main d’œuvre en Abitibi-Témiscamingue vont continuer d’augmenter. Nous avons donc à la fin de 2019 décidé d’avoir recours au recrutement international » nous explique la Vice-Présidente d’Agrimax à St-Bruno-de-Guigues, madame Madeleine Paquin. Jusqu’aux Philippines ! Plusieurs stratégies sont utilisées par les ressources humaines de ces sociétés et les directeurs des entreprises pour mieux cibler les compétences voulues et combler les postes vacants dans leurs départements. « En novembre 2019 nous avons donc entamer le processus via Solution Recrutement International, et, nous nous sommes rendus à Manille, capitale des Philippines, pour rencontrer des candidats potentiels. Nous avons alors retenu la candidature de deux d’entre eux pour occuper des postes de mécaniciens de machineries agricoles (lourdes) » indique madame Madeleine Paquin. Le défi de la bureaucratie… C’est la phase bureaucratique qui est la partie la plus complexe à gérer puisque le processus administratif de l’immigration et des vérifications prend beaucoup de temps. Généralement, les employeurs doivent s’armer d’une patience de fer avant de finir toutes les étapes et voir arriver leurs nouveaux recrus. « Les documents ont été signés sur place pour l’embauche de deux (2) d’entre eux pour un contrat de trois (3) ans. Nous avons donc donner le mandat à la firme SRI de procéder aux démarches pour leur venu au Canada. À ce moment-là on nous avait dit que nous pourrions espérer leur arrivée en juin ou au plus tard en septembre 2021 » ajoute la Vice-Présidente. Toujours en attente Bien que les entreprises engagent parfois des firmes spécialisées en recrutement, ils tiennent à faire un suivi de près auprès de leurs futurs employés. « Nous sommes en communication régulièrement avec Mark et Ruel, ils ont tous deux très hâte de rejoindre l’équipe d’Agrimax. Nous sommes toujours en attente d’une confirmation de leur arrivé; Ruel en est à l’étape finale du processus soit l’obtention de son visa; pour Mark il reste certains examens à compléter et, il attend toujours la communication de l’IRCC pour remettre son passeport et ensuite obtenir son visa » poursuit-elle. Les services essentiels d’abord ! « On comprend que la fameuse COVID-19 est venu brouiller les cartes. Selon nos informations le gouvernement traite en priorité les personnes devant travailler pour des services essentiels. Nous avons récemment pu faire valoir qu’Agrimax offre des services essentiels aux entreprises agricoles, et, espérons que nous aurons été entendus » conclut-elle. Moulay Hicham Mouatadid, Initiative de journalisme local, Reflet Témiscamien (Le)
THUNDER BAY — A new website launched this week features various services and tools to support victims and survivors of local human trafficking, says the co-chair of the Thunder Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking. Thunder Bay has been identified as one of the top six hubs in Ontario for human trafficking says Kristal Carlson, human trafficking youth and transition worker at Thunder Bay Counselling and co-chair of the Thunder Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking. “This crime is rampant in Thunder Bay,” she said Monday, Feb. 22. The website was created to provide victims and survivors of human trafficking with access to free services and to also spread awareness and education in the community about the crime. “The Thunder Bay Coalition to End Human Trafficking created the website to help community members, potential survivors and business people alike to be able to acknowledge, identify and potentially intervene if they should see human trafficking in young peoples’ lives,” Carlson said, adding the crime is often under-reported. For women, only one in 10 will report and for men only one in 20 will report to police, Carlson said. “It is such an under-reported crime so any sex-based crime we know that only six per cent will ever end in conviction so it is really hard to convince people to come forward when there is not the likelihood that something will happen,” she said. And while groups such as the Thunder Bay Coalition To End Human Trafficking exist to support victims of the crime, it is important to note they do not classify themselves as a “rescuing people” group, Carlson said. “We support individuals to move forward when they are ready in the way that is going to best suit them in their current situation,” she said. Last year alone, through various programs across the Coalition more than 60 people were successful in leaving their current situation, Carlson said. The creators of the new website also hope to address misconceptions around human traffickers that are often presented in media and movies. “Human trafficking, more times than not, is somebody being exploited by the person they identify as their boyfriend, their best friend or somebody that they know so that happens in more than 85 per cent of cases,” she said. The other most common form of trafficking is the exploitation of young people by family members, extended family members, caretakers or guardians. “More times than not it’s happening by the person they believe to be their boyfriend, girlfriend or best friend,” Carlson said. The website also teaches individuals how to identify signs and risk factors of human trafficking. “We also want to raise the education in the city of Thunder bay because we are identified as one of the top six hubs in the province of Ontario and Ontario makes up two-thirds of all human trafficking that takes place in our country,” Carlson said. Carlson also points out that coming forward doesn’t mean individuals have to report to the police. “The Thunder Bay Police have started to do some really amazing work in being able to meet survivors exactly where they are at and not needing to move forward with charges but to support them for when they are ready to do that if they are ever ready to do that,” she said. “We just want [survivors] to know they are not alone and that there are people to support you no matter where you are, whether you are currently at risk, entrenched, or you looking to exit, there are people here to support you.” For more information, visit Thunder Bay Coalition’s new website by clicking here. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
OTTAWA — Canada and Australia are banding together to ensure the revenues of web giants are shared more fairly with creators and media. A statement from Ottawa says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison have agreed to continue "co-ordinating efforts" to address online harm and ensure social media companies pay for journalism. The statement says the two leaders spoke Monday on a range of topics including the growing co-operation between Canada and Australia on the regulation of online platforms. The increasing alliance between the two countries on legislating internet giants to pay for news comes as Facebook backs down on its ban on Australians viewing and sharing news on its platform. The social media company announced Tuesday it would lift the ban, saying it had struck a deal with the Australian government on proposed legislation that would make digital giants pay for journalism. Facebook caused alarm with its sudden decision last week to block news on its platform across Australia after the House of Representatives passed the draft law. With files from The Associated Press. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — The Latest on congressional testimony about the Capitol insurrection (all times local): 2:45 p.m. A Senate hearing examining what went wrong with the law enforcement response to the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection has ended. House Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said afterward that “it’s clear action needs to be taken” after security officials who were in charge that day described confusion during the attack and intelligence failures that failed to predict the violence. Three of the four security officials, including the Capitol police chief, resigned immediately after the attack. Klobuchar said the next police chief should have “greater ability to make decisions” both leading up to and during a crisis. Five people died as a result of the violence. ___ HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT FORMER SECURITY OFFICIALS TESTIFYING ON THE CAPITOL INSURRECTION: Testifying publicly for the first time about the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, former security officials say that bad intelligence was to blame for the disastrous failure to anticipate the violent intentions of the mob. That left them unprepared for the attack, which was unlike anything they had ever seen before. ___ HERE'S WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON: 1:25 p.m. The former chief law enforcement officer of the U.S. House is denying allegations he didn’t want to call the National Guard before the Jan. 6 riot out of concern that it would look bad. Paul Irving resigned as House sergeant-at-arms after the deadly insurrection. He testified Tuesday that he met with then-Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund on Jan. 4 and that he believed they agreed not to ask for the Guard. Sund alleged that Irving denied his request for the Guard, citing “optics.” Said Irving, “I was not concerned about appearance whatsoever.” The hearing has renewed a remarkable breach between Sund and Irving about why there wasn’t more security at the Capitol. Irving was one of Sund’s superiors. Sund says he requested Guard help again at 1:09 p.m. on Jan. 6, as rioters were massing outside the building. Irving denies receiving a call at that time. ___ 12:20 p.m. Police officials who were tasked with protecting the Capitol on Jan. 6 say the FBI did not flag to them an internal report suggesting extremists were preparing for “war.” The report was issued a day before the riot by the FBI’s Norfolk, Virginia, field office. Washington Metropolitan Police acting Chief Robert Contee says the report came via email and says he believes a warning of that level “would warrant a phone call or something.” Steven Sund resigned as Capitol Police chief the day after the riot. Sund testified before Congress on Tuesday he was unaware the department had received the report until weeks after the insurrection. Sund and Contee have criticized the intelligence they received from federal law enforcement about Jan. 6. Sund has called for a review of how the intelligence community studies domestic extremism and shares information across agencies. The head of the FBI’s office in Washington has said that once he received the Jan. 5 warning from the Virginia office, the information was quickly shared with other law enforcement agencies, including the Capitol Police. ___ 11:55 a.m. The key officials in charge of security at the U.S. Capitol disagree on why they didn’t seek National Guard help before the Jan. 6 insurrection. Steven Sund resigned as chief of the Capitol Police the day after the riot. Sund testified Tuesday that he requested the National Guard be called at 1:09 p.m. on Jan. 6. Paul Irving is the former House sergeant-at-arms and was one of Sund’s superiors. Irving says he didn’t receive a request until after 2 p.m. Irving says he did not remember Sund making a request at 1:09. Rioters breached the Capitol’s west side just after 2 p.m. Irving says he and other Capitol security leaders agreed before Jan. 6 that “the intelligence did not support the troops and collectively decided to let it go.” The result was Capitol Police officers were badly outnumbered by rioters who in many cases were better armed and prepared to try to disrupt the certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory over Donald Trump. ___ 11:45 a.m. A top security official has testified that he was “stunned” over the delayed response to a request for National Guard help during the mob riot at the Capitol. Acting Metropolitan Police Chief Robert Contee III told a joint Senate hearing Tuesday that the former U.S. Capitol Police chief was “pleading” with Army officials to deploy Guard troops as the violence rapidly escalated Jan. 6. The District of Columbia’s Metropolitan Police officers had joined to help U.S. Capitol Police during the attack. Contee says police officers “were out there literally fighting for their lives” but the officials on the call appeared to be going through a ”check the boxes” exercise asking about the optics of stationing National Guard troops at the Capitol. Contee says there “was not an immediate response.” The officials are testifying in the first public hearing over the siege as a mob loyal to Donald Trump stormed the Capitol to disrupt Congress confirming Trump’s defeat to Joe Biden in the presidential election. ___ 11:30 a.m. The former chief of the U.S. Capitol Police says he learned this week that his officers had received a report from an FBI field office in Virginia that forecast in detail the chances extremists could commit “war” in Washington the following day — the day of the Capitol insurrection. The head of the FBI’s office in Washington has said that once he received the Jan. 5 warning from the Virginia office, the information was quickly shared with other law enforcement agencies through the joint terrorism task force, including the Capitol Police. Former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund testified to Congress on Tuesday that an officer on the joint terrorism task force had received the FBI’s memo and forwarded it to a sergeant working on intelligence for the Capitol Police. But Sund says the information was not put forward to any other supervisors. Sund says he wasn’t aware of it. Sund says he did see an intelligence report created within the Capitol Police force warning that Congress could be targeted on Jan. 6. That report warned extremists were likely to attend and there were calls for people to travel to Washington armed. The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem says the central bank is seeing early signs that people may be purchasing homes solely because they believe prices may go up. Macklem says rising prices in particular for single-family homes are still a long way from the heated market the country observed about five years ago. Fuelling the increase has been a combination of demand for more space as millions of workers do their jobs remotely, constrained supply and rock-bottom interest rates driven low by central bank actions. The bank's key policy rate has been at 0.25 per cent for about 11 months, and its quantitative easing program is trying to reduce the rates paid on things like mortgages to drive spending. Macklem says the central bank is surprised by the rebound in the housing market. He adds there are early signs of what he called "excess exuberance," with people maybe expecting the recent increases in prices to go on indefinitely. "What we get worried about is when we start to see extrapolated expectations, when we start to see people expecting the kind of unsustainable price increases we've seen recently go on indefinitely," Macklem said during a question-and-answer session with chambers of commerce in Edmonton and Calgary. "We are starting to see some early signs of excess exuberance, but we're a long way from where we were in 2016-2017 when things were really hot." The central bank plans to keep its key rate low until the economy recovers, expected sometime in 2023, and adjust its bond-buying program over time. Macklem says there is still a need for considerable monetary policy support to generate a complete recovery. In the meantime, the bank will keep an eye on debt levels, as mortgage debt rises as households pay down other debt like credit cards and personal loans, Macklem says. "We are acutely aware that in a world of very low interest rates, there is a risk that housing prices could get stretched, households could get stretched, and certainly that's a risk we want to guard against," Macklem told reporters following the speech. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
WABASCA-DESMARAIS, Alta. — RCMP have arrested a man on 15 sex charges in a remote northern Alberta community and say there could be more. Police say the allegations involve five women and took place between 2013 and 2018 in the Desmarais area, about 275 kilometres north of Edmonton. Mounties say they began investigating in December after receiving reports of sexual offences. Police say the suspect and the women know each other. Daniel Michael Balanger, who is 36, is charged with five counts of sexual assault, five counts of sexual interference and five counts of sexual exploitation. Balanger has been remanded in custody and is to appear in Desmarais provincial court on Thursday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021 The Canadian Press
ROME — The Republic of San Marino finally can start its coronavirus vaccination drive after the first shots arrived Tuesday. But the city-state surrounded by Italy had to resort to its “Plan B” and buy Sputnik V jabs from Russia after plans to get European Union-approved doses from Italy got delayed. A pink and yellow truck escorted by police cars brought the first 7,500 Sputnik V vaccines into San Marino and delivered them at the main hospital. Officials said the Russia-made doses will eventually be enough to vaccinate some 15% of the microstate’s population of around 33,800. San Marino bought Sputnik V shots at the last minute after an agreement to have Italy send a proportion of the vaccines it received through the EU's vaccine procurement system got delayed. San Marino, located near Rimini on the Adriatic coast, isn’t an EU member, and as such was excluded from the deals the 27-nation bloc negotiated with pharmaceutical firms. The San Marino secretary of state, Luca Beccari, said during a news conference last weekend that the negotiations with Italy took a long time and that under an agreement signed Jan. 11, San Marino was to receive one dose for every 1,700 that Italy received from the EU. But the deal hit a snag as Italy and other EU countries faced delivery delays for the three EU-approved vaccines, the ones from: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca. Italy has administered some 3.7 million doses. “Unfortunately, the time required to define these procedures and the fact that San Marino is a country that has not yet started its vaccination campaign has forced us to seek alternative solutions,” Beccari said in explaining the Sputnik purchase. “As for all other countries, it is necessary to start the vaccination campaign as soon as possible in order to ensure the safety of its citizens,” he said. The European Medicines Agency has said the developers of Sputnik V recently asked for advice on what data they needed to submit for the vaccine to be licensed across the European Union. Hungarian health authorities have approved both Sputnik V and the vaccine developed by state-owned Chinese company Sinopharm. San Marino has had a proportionately devastating outbreak, with 3,538 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 73 deaths. Roberto Ciavatta, San Marino’s secretary of state for health, said Sputnik V was safe and effective. “It is not that it did not pass any controls. On the contrary, as all the research and data available show, it is a vaccine that is already administered in 30 countries, About 70 million people have been vaccinated with it. It has extremely high safety standards,” he said. Nicole Winfield, The Associated Press
More than 250 COVID-19 tests were performed over two days as the Nova Scotia Health Public Health Mobile Units rolled into Liverpool. “It was a great weekend. We had a huge community response, which was awesome, and we were really, really happy with everything,” commented Holly Gillis, public health manager, public health mobile units. “We had a great location and the legion was a fabulous host.” The testing took place February 13 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and February 14 from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 38 on Henry Hensey Drive. Those wanting tests could pre-book appointments or simply drop in. The Public Health Mobile Unit project hit the ground with a fleet of 10 vans in December 2020, with the goal of reaching out to communities across the province and thereby increasing the number of people getting tested for the coronavirus. “We know in Nova Scotia that getting tested is fast, easy and free, and it’s a good way to protect ourselves and our communities from the spread of COVID-19,” said Gillis. The mobile clinics offer another option for Nova Scotians in addition to the primary assessment centres that exist across the province and the rapid pop-up testing clinics that are also being held in various locations across Nova Scotia. Gillis conceded the different options may be a bit confusing, but their goal is the same – to get as many people tested as possible. “Some people may find it tricky to go online or call 811 to book an appointment,” she said, explaining that she’s been advised seniors in particular find it difficult. Whereas the idea of the mobile clinics is that people can just show up and get the test done. While all Nova Scotians are encouraged to review the screening tool located on the Nova Scotia Health website and check for symptoms regularly, Public Health Mobile Units offer support for outbreak, contact tracing and testing for people without symptoms. At the mobile clinics, Nova Scotia Health staff use the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test administering a nasopharyngeal (NP) swab, or gargle/swish option for those under 18 years of age. According to Gillis, NP swabbing is the optimal specimen collection method for COVID-19 PCR testing because it pulls from deeper in the nasopharynx and has been proven to have a high viral concentration. This is why the NP swab is the standard for reliable testing, she explained, adding that all samples collected through the Public Health Mobile Units go to the lab. The rapid (Antigen) test detects protein fragments specific to the coronavirus. This allows the results to be obtained quickly, however it is not considered to be as accurate as the PCR alternative. To do a self-assessment or book a test, call 811 or go to: www.covid-self-assessment.novascotia.ca. For testing locations go to www.nshealth.ca/coronavirustesting. Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin
TEHRAN, Iran — Iran officially started restricting international inspections of its nuclear facilities Tuesday, a bid to pressure European countries and President Joe Biden's administration to lift crippling economic sanctions and restore the 2015 nuclear deal. World powers slammed the restrictions as a “dangerous” move. It came as the International Atomic Energy Agency reported in a confidential document distributed to member countries and seen by The Associated Press that Iran had added 17.6 kilograms (38.8 pounds) of uranium enriched up to 20% to its stockpile as of Feb. 16. It was the first official confirmation of plans Iran announced in January to enrich to the greater purity, which is just a technical step away from weapons-grade levels and far past the 3.67% purity allowed under the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. Iran also increased its total enriched uranium stockpile to 2,967.8 kilograms (6,542.9 pounds), up from 2,442.9 kilograms (5,385.7 pounds) reported on Nov. 2, the IAEA reported. Iran's violations of the JCPOA and the move Tuesday to limit international inspections underscore the daunting task facing Biden as he seeks to reverse former President Donald Trump's decision to pull the U.S. unilaterally out of the deal in 2018. That left Germany, France, Britain, China and Russia struggling to keep it alive. The JCPOA was the most significant pact between Iran and major world powers since its 1979 Islamic revolution, and Germany, France and Britain stressed their commitment Tuesday to preserving it, urging Iran to “stop and reverse all measures that reduce transparency.” “The E3 are united in underlining the dangerous nature of this decision,” the European powers said in a statement. “It will significantly constrain the IAEA's access to sites and to safeguards-relevant information.” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said a new law had gone into effect Tuesday morning, under which Iran will no longer share surveillance footage of its nuclear facilities with the U.N. agency. “We never gave them live video, but (recordings) were given daily and weekly,” Zarif said of the IAEA's access to information recorded by camera monitors. “The tape recording of our (nuclear) program will be kept in Iran.” The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Tehran’s civilian nuclear agency, has promised to preserve the tapes for three months, then hand them over to the IAEA — but only if granted sanctions relief. Otherwise, Iran has vowed to erase the tapes, narrowing the window for a diplomatic breakthrough. Since Trump pulled the U.S. out of the JCPOA, Iran has gradually been violating its restrictions to put pressures on the remaining nations to come up with economic incentives to offset crippling American sanctions. Besides surpassing the purity and stockpiles allowed, Iran has also been spinning advanced centrifuges and producing uranium metal. Zarif stressed in a tweet Tuesday that Iran's new limits on nuclear inspections and other violations of the pact are reversible, insisting that the U.S. move first to revive the deal. In a show of defiance, Cabinet spokesman Ali Rabiei outlined further developments in Iran's nuclear program on Tuesday. Over the last three weeks, he told reporters, Iran has installed and started feeding gas into an additional 148 high-tech IR2-m centrifuges at its Natanz nuclear enrichment facility and its fortified nuclear complex at Fordo, bringing the total number of centrifuges to up to 492. Another set of 492 centrifuges will be installed in the coming month, he said. He added that Iran has installed two cascades of even more advanced centrifuges at its nuclear enrichment facilities, but did not specify where. On Monday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also signalled Iran would refuse to capitulate to U.S. pressure over its nuclear program. Khamenei said that Iran could enrich uranium up to 60% purity if necessary, but stressed the country forbids nuclear weapons. Tehran has long insisted that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, such as power generation and medical research. Before the nuclear deal, in 2013, Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium was already more than 7,000 kilograms (7.72 tons) with higher enrichment, but it didn’t pursue a bomb. The Biden administration has said it’s ready to join talks with Iran and world powers to discuss a return to the deal. Zarif responded to the overture cautiously Tuesday, saying Iran is “assessing the idea of an unofficial meeting" with the parties to the accord “in which America is invited as a non-member.” In further diplomatic moves, the new U.S. administration rescinded the Trump-imposed U.N. sanctions and eased restrictions on the domestic travel of Iranian diplomats posted to the United Nations. Rabiei praised the steps on Tuesday but threw cold water on hopes for a swift revival of the deal. “While we consider this as putting America on a constructive path, we see (the steps) as extremely insufficient," he said. Before Iran implemented its new restrictions on IAEA inspections, the agency's director-general, Rafael Grossi, negotiated a temporary deal during an emergency weekend trip to Tehran. It allowed him to keep the same number of inspectors on the ground. In the report to members, the IAEA said the understanding would enable the agency to continue with its necessary JCPOA verification and monitoring activities for three months. It added it would also "enable the agency to resume its full verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear-related commitments under the JCPOA if and when Iran resumes its implementation of those commitments.” The IAEA also said it was still awaiting answers from Iran on three sites where inspections had revealed traces of uranium of man-made origin ____ Associated Press writer David Rising in Berlin contributed to this report. Metzler reported from Vienna. Nasser Karimi And Kiyoko Metzler, The Associated Press
FREDERICTON — New Brunswick's auditor general says NB Power needs to make reducing its $4.9-billion debt a priority, adding that credit rating agencies are taking notice of the utility's liabilities. Kim Adair-MacPherson tabled two volumes of her annual report Tuesday as she appeared before the legislature's public accounts committee. She said NB Power has the highest debt-to-equity ratio of all government-owned utilities in Canada. "NB Power was financed 94 per cent by debt in 2020," she said. Adair-MacPherson said she has "serious concern" about the utility's repeated failure to meet debt-reduction and income targets. "NB Power has planned major capital projects estimated to cost at least $4 billion, so potentially NB Power's debt could double in the coming years," she told the committee. Those projects include $2.7 billion to $3.7 billion to extend the life of the Mactaquac Dam, $84 million for the Belledune generating station and $93 million for the Coleson Cove generating station. Adair-MacPherson told a virtual news conference later in the day that credit rating agencies are taking notice of the utility's high debt load. "The rating agencies state NB Power as the province's largest contingent risk. Sustainability of NB Power will be a concern whether it's the ratepayer or the taxpayer who ends up footing the bill," she said. Adair-MacPherson said NB Power has reduced debt by an average of $20 million per year since renovations to the Point Lepreau nuclear power plant were completed in 2013. However, she said, the utility would have to reduce debt by $65 million per year to meet its 2027 target. Reducing debt to that extent is possible if management at the utility makes it a priority, she added. Responding to the auditor general Tuesday, NB Power said it takes very seriously its responsibility to operate its facilities "in a safe, reliable and economically sustainable manner." "NB Power remains committed to meeting its mandated debt-to-equity target by 2027," the utility wrote. The utility added that significant portions of its costs remain outside its control, such as fuel prices, electricity market prices and weather. Adair-MacPherson told the committee that NB Power's revenue over the last four years was $195 million less than what the province had expected it to be, adding that inaccurate forecasting by the utility has helped prevent it from reducing debt more quickly. Interim Liberal Leader Roger Melanson said Tuesday that when he was finance minister, NB Power's income forecast was never on target. "There needs to be more focus on financial management and management around the debt," Melanson said. People's Alliance Leader Kris Austin said someone needs to be held accountable for NB Power failing to meet its financial targets. Also in her report, the auditor general was critical of the provincial government for failing to address the demand for nursing homes. "In my view, the province is failing to address the nursing home capacity demand. The province is not ready for the increase in seniors requiring placement in a residential facility," she said. Adair-MacPherson said although some capacity has been added, there remains a long wait-list for nursing home placements, which she said is causing pressure on hospitals and increasing costs. "The senior population of New Brunswick aged 75 and older is expected to double over the next 20 years," she said in her report. "Failing to implement nursing home plans and obtain needed services for seniors will result in a crisis." She also took aim at the Health Department's electronic medical records system, which she said has been expensive and adopted by fewer than half the province's doctors. Adair-MacPherson said the government took a hands-off approach to the program's funding and implementation and did not exercise adequate oversight. As a result, she said, the province did not get the intended benefit after spending more than $26 million on the project. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press
Raymond Mason, an Elder from Peguis First Nation, Man., has a story to tell and it’s one that is garnering international attention. Last October, Mason’s book Spirit of the Grassroots People: Seeking Justice for Indigenous Survivors of Canada’s Colonial Education System was published by McGill-Queen’s University Press. The book is a chronology of Mason’s life. It includes his painful experiences in both Indian residential school and Indian day school. It outlines his triumph in creating Spirit Wind, which spearheaded the two movements that led to survivors of residential schools and day schools being recognized and receiving financial compensation. However, more importantly for Mason, Spirit of the Grassroots People is about giving credit to Spirit Wind, an organization that hasn’t been given its dues, he says. The book is about telling the truth, he says. “I write and speak my life without prejudice because my memory may play some tricks on me. I may say some things or describe events in a manner that is not liked or accepted universally, but these words represent the truth to the best of my knowledge. I tell this story truthfully,” he writes in his introduction. In an interview with Windspeaker.com, Mason says it has been painful to read articles about the work being undertaken for the Legacy Fund and other aspects of the McLean Day School Settlement Agreement between the federal government and survivors of specified Indian day schools and not see his name attached to the history of that fight. “Not to acknowledge the founder, the whole work horse. I’m the pillar behind the whole process, and to treat me like this is not fair. It’s devastating to say the least,” he said. Mason claims that his role and that of Spirit Wind fell to the wayside because of legal strategies and being “snubbed by various officials.” He outlines how this happened in his book. This lack of acknowledgement, the fact that Mason had already started to pen his story, and a phone conversation with Queen’s University PhD candidate Jackson Pind led to Spirit of the Grassroots People. The book has a unique approach; what Mason refers to as “two-eyed seeing and storytelling.” Pioneered by Mi’kmaq Elder Albert Marshall, it’s a technique that intertwines Indigenous storytelling with Western notes and context. The method keeps Mason’s story at the centre of the book, says Pind, but allows for documents and footnoted references to present the historical context. “We’re trying to bring both perspectives, both Raymond’s perspective and then the perspective that we knew was in the archives, and Ray didn’t have a really wide understanding of because he didn’t really remember all that information on his life and (he was) not even aware of the files that are out there. That was kind of our job, to bring it together,” said Pind. “I think the most important part is that it speaks to two different types of groups right now … We were trying to speak to both Canadians broadly, but also Indigenous people could also see themselves reflected in it with their oral history,” he added. Pind, who is Anishinaabe and settler, says he often uses this approach in his own work. “I’m trying to blend Indigenous oral histories with kind of the archival history that’s traditionally used,” he said. Pind and Theodore Michael Christou, professor, social studies and history education at Queen’s, edited Mason’s book. Pind says Mason asked them to publish the book in the “best place.” Pind and Christou felt that would be with McGill-Queen’s University Press, which also published the reports from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Indian residential schools. To accomplish that goal, Mason’s book needed to “show the historical side and not just the oral history side.” The appendices, says Pind, contain “powerful” documentation. Among those is the 2017 apology letter Mason received from the Anglican Church of Canada, as well as Mason’s 2008 independent assessment process report. “Those types of documents, I think, are going to be proof in the future that this happened: Here’s the evidence of it and its undeniable. And I think that type of stuff is really useful. Even now people deny the holocaust. I think having that kind of physical proof is really important for people to understand,” said Pind. Mason believes the mixture of these two approaches in telling his story has strengthened it. In fact, he says, he’s had requests to have his book translated into Chinese and German. Thanks to the international reach of the McGill-Queen’s University Press, Spirit of the Grassroots People is available around the world. “What it talks about, particularly about Canada and Canada’s history, particularly about the afterword where we get to the nitty gritty talking about where Canada has changed or not changed since the 1960s, would be interesting for a lot of people,” said Pind. Mason’s book can be purchased on Amazon. Windspeaker.com By Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
(Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit) Foreign diplomats, unaccompanied minors, truckers and patients getting treatment abroad are among the limited number of travellers who are exempt from mandatory hotel quarantine requirements when arriving in Canada by air. The federal rule that requires such travellers to stay at an approved hotel for up to 72 hours while awaiting the results of their polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests for COVID-19 went into effect Monday. Quarantine hotel reservations must be made prior to a traveller's arrival in Canada and can only be made by calling a dedicated government phone line. Reservations must be made at the traveller's expense. Diplomats, consular couriers and their families will not be required to book the hotel stay or take a post-arrival PCR test, and will be able to complete the entirety of their 14-day quarantine elsewhere. Canada added the exception to the rule because it is bound by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The 1964 international law states that diplomats "shall not be liable to any form of arrest or detention." Australia is also exempting foreign diplomats from similar quarantine requirements. "Foreign diplomats need to quarantine for 14 days on return to Australia. They can quarantine at their mission or usual place of residence," Australia's Department of Health website says. "Australia has legal obligations under the Vienna Convention to ensure diplomats' freedom of movement and travel, and protection from detention." Good policy or vulnerability gap? Anna Banerji, pediatric infectious disease specialist at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine and Dalla Lana School of Public Health, said the diplomatic exemption isn't a smart approach to a pandemic. "This is a vulnerability gap," Banerji said. "When we start making these exceptions — just like the politicians going down south during the holiday season thinking that they don't need to have the same rules as everyone else — that can lead to infection spreading." Dr. Anna Banerji, an infectious disease specialist at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine and Dalla Lana School of Public Health, said foreign diplomats should have a post-arrival COVID-19 test and face the same restrictions as everyone else. Charles Burton, a senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute and a former Canadian diplomat based in Beijing, said it would be appropriate for the federal government to send out a diplomatic note to all embassies and consulates in Canada asking that their diplomats voluntarily comply with the hotel quarantine rule and produce a post-arrival test. "Countries that are responsible in their international behaviour will insist that their diplomats comply with these regulations, the same as any non-diplomat or Canadian would have to comply if they crossed over into Canada from a foreign country," Burton said. Sarah Goldfeder is a principal at Earnscliffe Strategy Group who recently served as special assistant to two U.S. ambassadors to Canada. She said making exceptions for diplomats is good policy, since it's in line with the requirements of other countries. "It goes back to this kind of back-and-forth reciprocity of what do you, and who do you want to be in charge of your diplomats when your diplomats travel to their postings," Goldfeder said. "I don't think that there's any increased risk by any of their behaviours. In general, they're coming from their country of origin to this country. They're not travelling to multiple locations in between." Sarah Goldfeder is a principal at Earnscliffe Strategy Group, who recently served as special assistant to two U.S. ambassadors to Canada. Canadian diplomats abroad are fully subject to Canadian public health measures when they return, including PCR testing and federally-mandated quarantine rules, said Global Affairs Canada. The requirement to quarantine in a hotel and take a PCR test upon arrival also does not apply to unaccompanied dependent children and unaccompanied minors. A quarantine officer can release a person in "exigent" or extraordinary circumstances from the requirement; the government has not spelled out what sorts of circumstances would qualify. In such cases, an individual is still required to follow instructions from the quarantine officer. The hotel quarantine measure — which the government hopes will enable better detection and tracking of a number of more infectious coronavirus variants — has drawn criticism. Travellers have reported struggling to get through to a booking official on the government phone line. Others are worried about the cost of a hotel room. On Friday, the federal government released a list of approved hotels in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and Calgary. The list now contains 18 hotels between the four cities.
Downdetector, an outage tracking website, showed there were close to 26,000 incidents of people reporting issues with LinkedIn. Earlier in the day, LinkedIn said an issue across its platform was causing certain functional requests to take longer or fail unexpectedly and that it was working on a fix. California-based LinkedIn helps employers assess a candidate's suitability for a role and employees use the platform to find new job.
The province prepares to open mass clinics while doing more in-depth testing for worrying variants. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says B.C. is expanding its pool of immunizers to include dentists, midwives and paramedics before 172 sites open up to eventually offer a vaccine to everyone aged 18 and up.
NEW YORK — One of the world's better known fans of mystery novels, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is now writing one. Clinton is teaming up with her friend, the Canadian novelist Louise Penny, on “State of Terror,” which has a plot that might occur to someone of Clinton's background: A “novice” secretary of state, working in the administration of a rival politician, tries to solve a wave of terrorist attacks. The novel comes out Oct. 12, and will be jointly released by Clinton's publisher, Simon & Schuster, and Penny's, St. Martin's Press. “Writing a thriller with Louise is a dream come true," Clinton, who has expressed admiration for Penny and other mystery writers in the past, said in a statement Tuesday. "I’ve relished every one of her books and their characters as well as her friendship. Now we’re joining our experiences to explore the complex world of high stakes diplomacy and treachery. All is not as it first appears.” Penny, an award-winning author from Quebec whose novels include “The Cruelest Month” and “The Brutal Telling,” said in a statement that she could not “say yes fast enough” to the chance of working with Clinton. “What an incredible experience, to get inside the State Department. Inside the White House. Inside the mind of the Secretary of State as high stake crises explode," she said. "Before we started, we talked about her time as Secretary of State. What was her worst nightmare? ‘State of Terror’ is the answer.” Fiction writing and worst-case scenarios have become a favourite pastime for Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton. He collaborated with James Patterson on the million-selling cyber thriller “The President is Missing,” and on a new novel, “The President's Daughter,” which comes out in June. Hillary Clinton, secretary of state during Barack Obama's first term, has written a handful of nonfiction works. They include the memoir “Living History"; “Hard Choices,” which covered her time with Obama, who defeated her in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary; and “What Happened,” which focuses on her stunning loss to Donald Trump in the 2016 election. “State of Terror” appears to draw not just on her years as secretary of state, but on her thoughts about the Trump administration's “America First” foreign policy. According to Simon & Schuster and St. Martin's, the main character is “tasked with assembling a team to unravel the deadly conspiracy, a scheme carefully designed to take advantage of an American government dangerously out of touch and out of power in the places where it counts the most.” Financial terms were not disclosed. Clinton was represented by the Washington attorney Robert Barnett, whose other clients include Obama and Bill Clinton. Penny was represented by David Gernert, whose New York-based Gernert Company has worked with, among others, John Grisham, Stewart O'Nan and Chasten Buttigieg, husband of Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg. Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
Square Inc raised the bets on bitcoin by investing $170 million more and Chief Executive Jack Dorsey promised on Tuesday to "double down" on the payment firm's commitment to the world's biggest cryptocurrency. "The Internet needs a native currency, and we believe bitcoin is it," the longtime bitcoin enthusiast and chief executive of social media firm Twitter Inc said. Square bought 3,318 bitcoins in the fourth quarter, adding to the mainstream acceptance of the digital currency that has been winning support from several big investors.